October 23, 2008

BOOK REVIEW - The Fly at 50

In the last year I've interviewed the star of the original The Fly as well as the director of the 1986 remake, and I also contributed the copy to an AMC slideshow about all of the other film incarnations spawned by George Langelaan's classic short story (yes, even those that don't star Daphne Zuniga). I guess I'm sort of an unofficial theflyologist. This field is about to get highly competitive, however -- thanks to Diane Kachmar and David Goudsward's new book, The Fly at 50, everyone in the world will have access to the details, memories, and observations of those who were there the first time that cloth was ripped away.

I was grateful to the contributors for creating a book with the emotional heft of a true memorial instead of merely a pop-culture cash-in; in addition to interviews (including a Q&A with David Hedison that makes our little chat on the phone look like... well, just a little chat on the phone) there are photos and production notes from all versions of The Fly (I loved reading about the fits and megrims that legendary makeup artist Ben Nye was driven to over that queasily effective fly-head mask, and hope he gets his own biography someday). The decision to lead readers back to the source of the horror by reprinting Langelaan's story in full at the end of the book is a master stroke.

I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that Hedison will be signing copies of The Fly at 50 this weekend at the Chiller Theatre Expo in Parsippany, NJ. Since you were probably already planning to head out there so you could meet Linda Hamilton, Angie Dickinson, Ed Asner, and the guy that played Boba Fett, you'd better make sure you swing by David's table and shake the man's hand. Tell him that a (self-appointed) theflyologist sent you.

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